Wednesday, January 21, 1829
Volume 1 No. 45
Page 2 Col. 3b-4b
On an evening not long since, I set out, and after going a few miles, I arrived at a place, selected for an Indian dance. This was not only a new, but a curious scene to me, as it was the first I had seen. At my arrival, I saw a number of the natives of both sexes, gathered around two large fires, which they had built a few paces from the dancing ground. It was now, not long till one of the elderly appeared and gave a short address to the surrounding company; the intention of which I could not easily guess, but having an interpreter at hand, I learnt that it was the manager giving the orders of procedure.
Immediately after which, a lighted torch was placed in the centre (sic) of the dancing ground, & aroused by this they all followed their leader, singing and dancing, as they marched in a kind of circus.
They also had a peculiar kind of music, made by a parcel of small gravels being put into some tarrapin (sic) shells, which some of the females wore on their legs. These, it may be relied upon, made no little racket. I could not, however, help noticing a parcel of kegs which were collected together not far from one of the fires, over which a watchman was placed to prohibit them from intoxication, until after the dance; when I expected there would be a general welcome to the kegs. But during the little while I stayed, I was no little surprised to see so much order preserved. Another circumstance; however, equally drew my attention, which was a number of aged, who were unable to partake in the dance, sitting round, and looking on, with as much concern, as if it had been a matter of the utmost importance. That a part of the human family, who are equally interested in the blood of a Saviour (sic), should be given to a savage life, whilst another is enjoying the comforts of religion and the pleasures of refinement, is, to a reflecting mind, a matter of no small interest. Is it not a pity, that so many may yet be found, in this enlightened day,& that too in a land of boasted liberty, who have not even been taught the first principles of morality?
"Oh that my head were waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night," for the savage children of the forest!
But perhaps it may be asked, why I should be found at a place of this
description? To this I would answer that it was not mere curiosity, but
a desire to obtain a knowledge of the manners and customs, of those unfortunate
children of nature. For what purpose did the traveller visit the famous
idol of Juggernaut, and that too when thousands of pilgrims were offering up
their sacrifices. Was it to partake of their crimes by paying adorations
to that idol also? or was it to obtain some useful information, by which future
generations might be profited? I presume the latter was his chief object.